Exhibition

BENTWOOD AND BEYOND

Thonet and Modern Furniture Design

Wed, 18.12.2019–Mon, 13.04.2020

MAK – Museum of Applied Arts

To commemorate Thonet’s 200th anniversary, the MAK is presenting a major exhibition on modern furniture, in which the signature bentwood furniture of the world famous company is placed in the context of contemporary technological, typological, aesthetic, and historical developments. Thonet’s bentwood chairs are compared with chairs made of tubular steel and plastic as well as with classic office chairs and avant-garde furniture experiments.   
 
In 1842, the German joiner Michael Thonet moved to Vienna to perfect the bentwood furniture he had developed and to found the largest furniture empire of the 19th century. With chair No. 14, produced from 1859, the company not only created one of the world’s best-selling pieces of furniture, but also an undisputed design classic. The exhibition at the MAK shows the central importance of the Thonet company for modern furniture design and, in addition to the company’s history, also tells about the stages in the development of bentwood technology, from artisan production to industrial series production.

The MAK holds one of the world’s most important collections of bentwood furniture, which is supplemented in the exhibition by excellent international loans. The approximately 240 exhibits are each placed in comparison groups, in which several objects face each other. In this way not only material technological steps in the development, but also typological parallels and iconographic affinities become visible.

The typical aesthetics and perfect shape of the Thonet furniture have repeatedly served as a source of inspiration for contemporary artists—for example, the exhibition includes works by Birgit Jürgenssen, Bruno Gironcoli, Ineke Hans, Rolf Sachs, Uta Belina Waeger, and Markus Wilfling, who deal with the bentwood furniture from an artistic perspective. 

Guest Curator: Wolfgang Thillmann
Curator: Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Opening

Tue, 17 Dec 2019
Free admission to the opening
Facebook Event

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog BENTWOOD AND BEYOND: Thonet and Modern Furniture Design (MAK Studies 28) by Sebastian Hackenschmidt and Wolfgang Thillmann, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Sebastian Hackenschmidt. German/English, ca. 304 pages with numerous color illustrations. MAK, Vienna/Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2020. Available at the MAK Design Shop as of mid december and online at MAKdesignshop.at for € 49.95.

SPONSORS












For his generous support we would like to thank
Cornelius Grupp


Program (26 Events)

Sun, 26.01.2020 2.00 pm 3.30 pm
Sat, 01.02.2020 2.00 pm 4.00 pm
MAK Design Kids

Auf. Biegen. Und.

Auf. Biegen. Und.

The FORMAT MAK Design Kids

Every 1st Saturday of the month, 2–4 p.m.: In two-hour workshops, the MAK Design Kids turn their attention to furniture, fashion, patterns, and more while always keeping an eye on digital developments. The children will get to know design processes, develop their own ideas, try new techniques, or learn how to work with special materials. Every now and then, they will also use iPads.

PRACTICAL INFO

Workshop for 8- to 12-year-olds (unaccompanied)
Limited number of participants
Participation fee: € 8 (with free admission)
1459977554986
Sun, 02.02.2020 2.00 pm 3.30 pm
Tue, 04.02.2020 10.15 am 12.30 pm
MINI MAK Vacation Activities

MUSICAL CHAIRS

MUSICAL CHAIRS
Workshop for children from ages 6 to 13

Michael Thonet continually developed the bentwood technique and founded the largest furniture empire of the 19th century. The exhibitions BENTWOOD AND BEYOND and “SITZEN 69” REVISITED offer deep insight into the seating of the past and present. Together, we let ourselves be inspired by the classics and find all sort of things to sit on for tomorrow. We build a tower of chairs using your ideas and let it crash in the 21st century.

In context of the wienXtra-ferienspiel
1459977554986
Wed, 05.02.2020 10.15 am 12.30 pm
MINI MAK Vacation Activities

MUSICAL CHAIRS

MUSICAL CHAIRS
Workshop for children from ages 6 to 13

Michael Thonet continually developed the bentwood technique and founded the largest furniture empire of the 19th century. The exhibitions BENTWOOD AND BEYOND and “SITZEN 69” REVISITED offer deep insight into the seating of the past and present. Together, we let ourselves be inspired by the classics and find all sort of things to sit on for tomorrow. We build a tower of chairs using your ideas and let it crash in the 21st century.

In context of the wienXtra-ferienspiel
1459977554986
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Media

Gebrüder Thonet, Chair, Model N0. 14, Vienna, 1859 (Execution: 1890–1918)
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Chair, Model No. 322, for the dining room of the Sanatorium Westend in Purkersdorf, Vienna, 1904
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Chaise longue, Model No. 670 “Sitting Machine,” Vienna, ca. 1905
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Hoffmann, Armchair, Model No. 729/F, Vienna, ca. 1907
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Hermann Czech, Chair for the MAK restaurant, Vienna, 1993
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Josef Frank, Armchair, Model No. A 403 F, Vienna, ca. 1927
© MAK/Nathan Murrell
Stefan Diez, Chair, Model No. 404, Munich, 2007
© MAK/Georg Mayer
Robert Stadler, Chair, Model No. 107, Vienna, 2011
© MAK/Georg Mayer